Connor Rall ’23, unsuspecting farmer

Connor Rall ’23 tends to his flock of chickens – courtesy of Connor Rall ’23

Across from the old covered bridge only open on Sunday, there is an ordinary house. Same as the ones to the left and right of it, and even the one across the street. 

The house has white siding with a brick front door at the end of a long circular driveway. Nothing is out of the ordinary. 

Walking to the back of the house, you might hear the water rushing through the small creek a few yards away. It is a calm sound. A small shed is stationed near the creek. 

Getting closer, you may even hear the sounds of animals. Turning the corner, they reveal themselves, strutting and nesting. Chickens.

Having a chicken coop is no standard feature of suburban Newtown Square, yet Sixth Former Connor Rall takes care of these chickens. He had no prior experience with farm animals until his Fifth Form year—only dogs roamed about his house. His biology teacher had been raising farm animals for a while, and Rall decided he wanted to get involved like no student had before. 

His classmates did not believe he would actually take the chickens and raise them. 

Rall took a chance.

“I got them because it would be fun,” Rall said. “My family has always wanted to have chickens.”

Every day, Rall had to check a monitor for any movement or cracks as the eggs got closer to their expected hatch date.

“Waiting for them to hatch was exciting but stressful because I had to get everything ready for them.”

Connor Rall ’23

  “Waiting for them to hatch was exciting but stressful because I had to get everything ready for them,” Rall said.

Chickens need certain conditions to hatch with incubation. Providing the right amount of heat and time under light allows them to hatch at the best rate. Chicken eggs usually have a 75% chance of hatching and living. 

He was relieved to hatch numerous eggs.

Rall has had to adapt to his new responsibility of watching over wildlife. After a long day of school, Rall has many tasks to do.

“My routine is: I go out and give them food and water, then I come back home from school, give them more food and water, let them out to run around for a bit, then let them inside before night.” 

Tending the chickens can sometimes feel like a chore, but to Rall, it can also be the highlight of his day.

Sometimes the sun is almost completely set by the time Rall gets home. After a drive from the boathouse after a long crew practice, the chickens are still there. Even if they are a chore, they help Rall recover from the mental stress of his everyday life. 

Rall plans to continue caring for his chickens. While he heads off to Scotland’s Saint Andrew’s University, he expects his family to continue raising them. 

Even when a few chickens die from illness, it does not deter Rall. He makes sure the flock perseveres.